As some people know, 2012 has really been a rebuilding year for me with regards to my career and my love of software testing.  I have been involved in testing for over 13 years, but I spent a good chunk (4-5 years) in a senior management role, which effectively removed me from anything remotely involving testing.  I managed managers and spent all of my energy trying to be good at that.  After that role was eliminated and I moved back to a line manager role, I discovered (again) everything I had been missing all those years.  I really like testing.  I like using the part of my brain that I need to use to think like a tester (which I found had been turned off for years thanks to my focus on HR issues and processes and procedures).  I like sitting with my team (now 10 instead of 65) so that we can have thought provoking discussions.  I like touching software.

Sure, my position change had a part in this, but I really see two other pieces to this puzzle as key to where I am today.  The first thing I did when I got over being mad for being pushed out of my old role (which in the end was a blessing, I just couldn’t see it at the time) was demand that I be sent to CAST to reconnect with testing.  The second key step was making a Twitter account and connecting with anyone I could find that I thought was interesting, starting with the context-driven testing community.

So, with a bit of my back story (and returning to the original intent of this post), I wanted to thank a few of the people that helped me along my journey this year.

Thanks to James Bach for coming out to speak at two NOSQAA events, and to Shaun Hershey for getting him to come talk at Hyland.  Thanks to Michael Bolton for the many Twitter discussions, the offers to help me start a tester community and for a very awakening full day session at CAST 2012.  Thanks also for sitting in on a game of Zendo at CAST and for sharing your beer (I still don’t assume beer on the table is for sharing by default).  Thanks to Eric Proegler for continuing to give me good advice on testing and testers.  Sorry it took me years to catch up with what you were saying.  Thanks to Claire Moss for being friendly to a new-comer at CAST and for incessantly favoriting many of my tweets.  Thanks to Dean Biron for introducing me to Zendo (much to my bank accounts chagrin).  Thanks for Paul Holland for showing me the dice game, blowing my mind, for sharing your The MacCallan and for being patient.  Thanks also to Paul for the many Twitter discussions, and for (reason still to be determined) hosting my blog.  You were key to me actually getting this thing going.  Thanks to Wendy Robinson for being my testing buddy and co-advocate for change during much of the past year.  I am really glad we got you out to CAST.  You started or helped start our internal testing game nights, the re-awakening of our testing forum and our lunch time tester discussions.  Thanks to Mike Talks for the earl (and deserved) teasing about being a recovering senior manager (I got better).  It helped me further confirm that I did in fact want to get away from managing managers and get back in touch with testing and testers.  Thanks to Jari Laakso for the interesting discussions, for letting me ‘peer review’ one of your posts, for pushing me to blog and for giving me the inspiration for the name.  Thanks to Matt Heusser for the numerous discussions, tips, introductions and for the (soon to be) training.  A bit of a warning, I’m looking to pick your brain off hours in January if possible.  Thanks to Anna Royzman for the session at CAST, and for the invite to join the AST Leadership SIG seemingly out of the blue.  I am really looking forward to this group taking off and making a difference in the community.  Thanks to Pete Walen.  I’ve been following you for awhile now on Twitter and find many of your insights interesting.  I enjoyed (finally) getting to speak on the Leadership SIG call last month and I look forward to seeing you in January with Matt.  Thanks to Mike Larsen (and Matt again) for the TWiST podcasts; I’m not caught up on all of them, but I have really liked the topics so far.

Thanks to Eric Brickarp, Martin Hynie, Paul Clewell, Mike Lyles, Keith Klain, qualitycaptain, Guy Mason, Simon Morley, Matt Hutchinson, and numerous others for the conversations, tips, help, info, re-tweets and everything else along the way.

I appreciate everything that you’ve all done to help me this year.  Whether you realized it or not, you’ve helped me tremendously.  I am a better person, and a better, more connected, more involved and more passionate tester and test advocate thanks to all of you (any the many I have forgotten in my rush to put this together).